Updated: Nov 4, 2022
Q: I love my job but I don’t really get along with my boss that well. We are very different people and I am afraid this will get in my way of getting ahead in my company. What can I do about it?
A: You’re right, getting along with your boss is crucial to both enjoying your job and moving ahead in your career. Mastering the art of communication with your superiors is a game-changing career skill worth learning. Like it or not, your boss is the gatekeeper to your success and it’s your responsibility, not your boss’s to manage this relationship. Learning this skill is the key to that gate.
You need to identify your boss’s preferred communication style and then adapt your style to match theirs. Are they a “give me the big picture first” or “give me the bottom line” person? Do they prefer in-person updates with lots of detail or bullet form via email? Formal meetings or casual drop ins? Do they like to discuss things prior to decisions being made or prefer you take the lead and only let them know when there is a problem? Come to meetings with one solution or many options? Are they a quick decision maker or need time to make them?
So how do you determine what your boss’s style is?
Watch how others who interact well with your boss do it.
Watch how your boss communicates information to you or others. How people give information is typically how they like to receive it.
You can also ask him/her how would they like to be communicated with. (Interestingly though, most people don’t know how they prefer to receive information.)
My suggestion is to try different methods out and see what works best. Good luck!